I’ve been thinking about how life works for a few years now and I’ve come up with three different views. Whilst I’m still not entirely sure which one I truly believe in; the labyrinth is the closest one to my current thoughts.
My Clifftop Highway View of Life
I’ve always had a soft spot for the homeless and I have an interest in understanding and fixing the problem of homelessness. I’ve got to know a couple of homeless people over the years, and I’ve read a lot about stories about homelessness (mostly via The Big Issue) and a common theme is that homelessness often comes from a single bad decision in life. Like having an affair, starting injecting drugs or quitting something.
Every now and then there’s a big sign announcing the next turn off as something exciting (an affair) or different (some heroin), or as an escape from your drive (quiting school). So you resist each turn off staying on the straight and narrow road ahead, however you see a turnoff in the distance that you really can’t refuse. So you take the turnoff. Little do you know that the turnoff leads to a road that goes straight off the cliffs and you plunge into the ocean full of sharks.
Sometimes people sink, sometimes they get eaten by a shark, sometimes they swim, and sometimes it takes them a while to do anything after the shock of driving off a cliff.
Meanwhile others continue along their Clifftop highway not fully knowing the dangers that are present at every moment.
My TS Elliot View of Life
TS Elliot once wrote:
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
My ‘TS Elliot’ view of life is that your life is basically endless exploration; like a maze where every decision you make takes you on a slightly different path, but you ultimately end up where you’ve started but realise you’re an entirely different person.
My Labyrinth View of Life
My final view of life is that it’s like a labyrinth. Mazes and labyrinths are very different in that a maze has multiple paths/decision points, a labyrinth has a single path from the outside to the centre. From a distance, a labyrinth can look complex or complicated, but once you’re in one there’s really nothing to worry about, your path is predetermined.
You may think that you’ve made a decision about something but really you’ve just turned a bend. As you get closer to where you want to be, you notice that each path gets easier as it gets shorter: you’ve gained life labyrinth walking experience and can finally just enjoy the ride.
You’ve riden through life and whilst you’re not at the exact same place, it’s much closer than the distance you’ve travelled.
As I said at the start, I’m not sure which view of life I most believe in now. In the past I’ve felt strongly about predetermism, but I’ve seen some people do some silly things and I’m not sure whether predestination explains why they would do those things.